Jan 6, 2012 - published work, TTP, USA, Waziristan    7 Comments

More equal than others in death

In the wake of the cross-border Nato attack in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in Salala, the whole country was up in arms against the aggression of the allied forces. From the political parties to lawyers associations, from banned militant outfits to student organisations, from the head of the armed forces to the aunties in drawing room; everyone thought it fitting to lambast the US — especially since most people cannot really distinguish between the US and Nato — for attacking Pakistan’s sovereignty, its land and its people. As if protest of the people living in the country was not enough, Altaf Bhai decided to join in the condemnation of NATO forces all the way from London.

A few weeks later, 15 Frontier Constabulary personnel who were captured in Tank on December 23rd were taken to Waziristan by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and killed after a dozen days. Unlike the deaths in Salala, no one is mourning the loss of lives of these 15 men because we do not cry at the atrocities committed by our so called strategic assets – the TTP – who not only claim these deaths with impunity, they justify it as an act of revenge.  We only lament, or maybe we are pushed into lamenting for those who are killed by foreigners – be it individuals (victims of Raymond Davis) or troops (victims of Salala bombings in November) to get maximum political and material leverage out of it. It’s a slur on national integrity if soldiers die in cross border skirmishes, but if the strategic assets – or more likely the strategic liabilities – murder a group of soldiers in cold blood, it only merits a brief press release with no mention of the names of those who died. 

The victims of Waziristan will also not be grieved because there were no officers and gentlemen amongst them. They were ordinary soldiers; and we do not mourn the deaths of mere soldiers who die in the line of duty by their compatriots. 

Did any political party called for protest against this act of barbarism? No.

Have we seen the footage of flag covered coffins set in manicured gardens for all to pay respect to the dead on the tv to fan the public anger? No.

Has there been funeral prayers for the victims of Waziristan where who‘s who of the country offered condolences and vowed to avenge their deaths? No.

Did lawyers boycott their activities? No, it was business as usual for them. 
Were distressed family members, wailing mothers and fathers with slumped shoulders interviewed to fan public outrage against this barbaric act? No.

Did anyone ask the TTP for qisas for the families of the 15 victims? No.

Were there any TV anchors frothing at the mouth, dishing out sermons dripping with moral outrage calling people to stand up against the effrontery of TTP? No, the debate on TV was about memogate and contempt of court notices dished out to PPP leadership. We sure have our priorities right. 
Why bother, when there is no financial compensation to be had, where no effigy-burning rallies can be organized for political gains, and no other nation is to be blamed. It is known that some animals are more equal than others in the animal farm called Pakistan, but what is now being learned is that some animals are more equal in death as well.

First published in The Express Tribune, this is the unedited version.

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  • they were literally left to die in a remote fort

  • Well, remote-controlled and self-proclaimed defenders of the faith, of the holy Prophet and his teachings and message have wrecked untold misery, everywhere. Frankly, the holy Prophet, and his family and companions fought against the forces of darkness, tyranny and terror – the forces of Yazid, if I am right. Now the modern Yazids and their followers have become moderately enlightened (perhaps courtesy that pure and pious electricity extracted from djinns) – they do everything in the name of the holy Prophet and his message!

    It is the same for every faith. We too have seen a proliferation in the number of self-proclaimed Babas, Sadhus and Swamyjis – though their influence is very limited. What is mostly common between them is facial hair – and lots of it. As for the colourful beards lobby, I fail to understand that a faith, which took roots in the desert sand, would have wanted such a rich harvest of it. Or would have prescribed the classy black colour for one half of the population.

  • As for the discrimination meted out to your FC personnel, perhaps they wear second hand boots and beret caps and not shining ones; and any scrutiny will lead to those hands that fiddle with that remote control. Therefore, silence is golden.

    There is nothing called as “public opinion” it is only “publicized opinion”. The flash-bulb-and-talk-time brigades are more than capable of the latter. Everywhere.

    Also, this periodic high decibel cantankerous cacophony about the land of the pure being a ‘failed state’ on the brink of disaster, etc., is pure unadulterated humbug. A nation that has survived, and an economy that has absorbed: years of pure and pious rule, colourful beards, natural calamities, violence and a severe energy crunch (thanks to nearly thirty years of electricity from djinns, motorways for honeybees and later for mosquitoes, as well as a fist that also wore a bush-shirt) – without collapsing (the economy that is), simply means that the “krupt” folks must be doing something right.

  • @ Tazeen

    Relax lady.It is a well recognised fact in modern psychology that perception is a selective process.We all are selective in one or the other.Maybe not always in words, but ALWAYS, ALWAYS in deeds. And the selection process is a window into that person’s personality.Moreover, the dynamics of differentiation of the Post World war 1 politics and the differentiating character of the 20th century ideological systems have thrown the issue of morality completely outta window.There is no more a concept of victim as for as the “morality” is concerned.The concept of victim-hood is just one of the various tools of the ideologues for doing perception management of the masses in favour of their ideologies.At the end of the day, its the nature of victim that determines the issue of morality. To some it might seem a very hight of cruelty but an unbiased philosophical exposition will give the verdict in favour of the objectivity of this fact.

    Verily, We the human beings are fucked.

  • Sorry to barge in like this but i really doubt it was the TTP who did it frankly speaking its not there style yes i know they are overrated n most ppl wud call me protaliban but a little has to be placed in everything and the logic really goes against the possibility, i have followed this war from the start so i know how pak army and how TTP are operating none of them captures or keep hostages they both shoot to kill this move was too planned taking 15 army personale is a really hard thing to do and the gorillas cant pull it off….plus after the salala incident the lower ranks in the army are in a rampage against the foriegn forces and TTP knows that so they are working with them to destroy the enemy an understanding has been reached between the two so trust me its taliban (any fraction) who did this

    these 15men were captured and killed by someone else for some other reason

  • tazeen there is a difference between people killed by taliban and people killed by NATO and so called champions of democracy. you lament the fact that nobody i protesting these acts by taliban, yet you should also realise a peace deal is being brokered between Mullah omar and US.

    Its all politics and everybody is a human rights violater.

  • The man you called “The Dim”, Taliban Khan and Imran Kan’t wrote against the killing and strongly condemned these acts.


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